The new extractivism conference poster

The Community Movements Conference organized by the Student Association for International Development (SAID) is taking place on January 30, 31 and February 1.

For the eighth year, the Community Movements Conference is organizing one of the most anticipated and relevant student-run conferences in Canada. The conference is open to all members of the community. Registration for the conference includes full access to all workshops and keynote speakers as well as all meals throughout the weekend.

Members of the organizing committee expressed pride in the fact that the conference will have local, national and international speakers and will address an extremely pressing issues. The aim of the Community Movements Conference is to provide a forum for discussion on a current issue in a way that is relevant for students and Peterborough community members.

Bhekumusa Khumalo, a member of the organizing committee, argued that the conference provides a platform to discuss and look to better the social, political, economic and environmental issues we face as a community of people on both a local and global scale.

He also agreed that the greatest strength of the conference is that it is student run and as a result provides students with a sense of belonging and greater responsibility. Another important strength is that the conference will have workshops and speakers that possess a high academic and professional level.

This year’s topic is The New Extractivism. Adriana Sierra, a member of the organizing committee, expressed that the topic was selected based on James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer’s most recent book, which explores the dilemma faced by many governments in light of the economic recession: to pursue, or not, a development strategy through the extraction of resources despite their social and environmental costs.

Sierra furthermore stated that the topic of the conference “is not only relevant in the global scope, as it frames the issue of resource extraction by juxtaposing pressing environmental concerns and capitalist economic growth in the context of recent economic conditions, but is also highly relevant to Canada as a nation with a primarily resource-based economy.”

Workshops during the conference will analyze the New Extractivism through different perspectives and case studies including examples from Mongolia, Honduras, and Canada.

In terms of how the conference serves the local community, Sierra agreed “it serves the Trent Community in that it enhances students’ academic experience outside the classroom by enabling discussion and workshops that involve a variety of perspectives on a current issue.”

In addition, she added, the conference provides a space for interaction between students, Peterborough community members, NGOs, and academia, allowing for a rich environment geared towards learning, networking, and a multidisciplinary approach to The New Extractivism.

The conference is an excellent opportunity to engage in interactive learning outside the classroom. It will provide high-level interdisciplinary discussions that will certainly enrich participant’s perspectives.

Assisting to the conference will also allow making important contacts and connections with members of the local community as well as visitors from abroad. The conference is open to all community members from all academic and professional backgrounds.

As Khumalo asserted, the conference would be highly recommended as “it encapsulates everything that Trent stands for in regards to strong student-faculty relations and an emphasis on students taking steps in challenging the issues that exist in our world today.”

More information can be found at the Trent Community Movements Conference Facebook page and at SAID’s website: http://saidtrentu.webs.com